Critic Reviews

92

Metascore

Based on 47 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
The Coens have given us a melancholic, sometimes cruel, often hilarious counterfactual version of music history. It's a what-if imagining of a cultural also-ran that maybe tells us more about the truth than the facts themselves ever could.
100
This is instant A-list Coens; enigmatic, exhilarating, irresistible.
100
This is a gorgeously made character study leavened with surrealistic dimensions both comic and dark, an unsparing look at a young man who, unlike some of his contemporaries, can't transcend his abundant character flaws and remake himself as someone else.
100
Inside Llewyn Davis isn't about someone trying to make it big, but someone just trying to make it, and the Coens celebrate the hard road that can inspire great art.
100
Brilliantly written, terrifically acted, superbly designed and shot; it's a sweet, sad, funny picture about the lost world of folk music which effortlessly immerses us in the period.
100
Inside Llewyn Davis is a revelatory showcase for Isaac, who sings with an angelic voice and turns a potentially unlikable character into a consistently relatable, unmistakably human presence - a reminder that humility and genius rarely make for comfortable bedfellows.
100
But mainly, it's the film's folk music that roots in the heart like a faraway lure.
100
The most satisfyingly diabolical cinematic structure that the Coens have ever contrived, and that's just one reason that I suspect it may be their best movie yet.
100
An evocative vision of self-destruction, a gorgeously crafted time capsule, and a fantastic showcase for Oscar Isaac in the title role.
100
What Inside Llewyn Davis is all about: the passion, and the pain, of being an artist.
100
Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the Coens' smallest movies - this one doesn't have the broad appeal of "True Grit" or "No Country For Old Men" - but like Llewyn's music, it comes from the heart and it is deeply felt. It is also one of their best.
100
Inside Llewyn Davis plays like some beautiful, foreboding, darkly funny dream.
95
It's a character piece, and one of the best and most understated movies I've ever seen about the grieving process.
95
In a movie set up to trap us within Llewyn's repetitive loop of failure, baiting us with hope before quashing it with quiet desperation again and again, something more than comic relief is needed to soften the blow a little, and the film's musical interludes are that pillow.
91
An ode to art for art's sake, Inside Llewyn Davis is the most innocent movie of the Coens' career, which in their case is a downright radical achievement.
90
Where Barton Fink sometimes resembled a horror movie, Inside Llewyn Davis plays like an elegy. Its conclusions are more regretful than angry, and while the conflict between art and commerce is no less central, there's much more emphasis on that conflict's personal toll.
90
The film's centerpiece is Mr. Isaac's phenomenal performance. He's an actor, first and foremost, who is also a musician.
88
As played by an eloquently beleaguered Oscar Isaac, Llewyn Davis is arguably the most vivid and complex character the Coens have dreamed up since Marge Gunderson.
88
One thing's for sure about this raw provocation from the Coens: Like the music, the pain runs deep and true. You'll laugh till it hurts.
88
This is a well-crafted look at the American folk music scene of the early 1960s, a sometimes hilarious dry comedy - and oh yeah, the music is terrific.
75
The Coens, so cutting to so many of their characters, are gentler with Llewyn, inviting us to wander and wonder along with him as he ponders why he must forever play the jerk.
75
As played by Oscar Isaac, he's snidely funny, world-weary and deeply sad. Though his story is enigmatic, the film itself is brilliantly acted, gorgeously shot and altogether captivating.
75
The Coens, with this film, are like people who fly all the way to Paris on vacation and then eat at McDonalds every night, because that's what they know. Why bother making the trip at all?
63
The movie is so “interior,” it so zeroes in on Isaac and his baleful stare, that we're relieved any time something overtly funny happens.

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